Notoriety as a footballer is seldom a reliable indicator of how a player might develop as a coach. Nor should any sportsman be judged forever on single incidents. Look at some of the brighter young coaches in Serie A and you could put black marks against most of them.
For instance: Leonardo, now in charge at Inter Milan, earned a red card at the 1994 World Cup for a gruesome jab with his elbow which fractured the skull of Tab Ramos, the United States player. It may be the most re-televised moment of his playing career, yet a more urbane and charming manager than the Brazilian would be hard to name.
Or consider Sinisa Mihailovic, the head coach at Fiorentina, whose fame for wonderful left-footed delivery competes with allegations of racist sledging and expressions of extreme Serbian nationalism among the prominent souvenirs of his playing career; Mihailovic has proved a formidable rescuer of lost causes as a manager.
Now take Diego Simeone, appointed last week at Catania. Simeone is the Argentine whose theatrical overreaction to a sly tap in the calf from David Beckham at the 1998 World Cup led to England's most famous footballer being sent off.
Simeone achieved a lot more besides that, but it is a moment that the game's history has preserved because of the hype surrounding Beckham.
Simeone, 40, was once described as a "born coach" - the citation came from Roberto Perfumo, the former Argentina international - and those who recall his long career in Italian football, first with Pisa, with Inter, and finally as part of the Lazio squad who won the league title in 2000, would understand immediately what that means.
Simeone worked hard in midfield, maintained his position with discipline, passed the ball responsibility and with a sharp sense of the geometry of the pitch. He was an organiser, a keeper of a team's shape.
And he was aggressive and intensely competitive. "I play with a knife between my teeth," he once said, a phrase that became part of the game's jargon in South America.
Simeone only stopped directing midfields four years ago and immediately began his career as a manager. There have been ups and downs: he took Estudiantes to a first championship in nearly quarter of a century, and River Plate to a title in 2008; he also left San Lorenzo and Racing after shorter spells.
But when the call came to replace Marco Giampaolo at Catania last Wednesday, Simeone jumped on the first available plane. His mission in coaching had always been European football, and his return to Italy found him immediately among old allies.
"I've had a lot of calls from my friends here," Simeone said after his first game in charge, a 2-0 loss to Parma, "and I'm happy to be back."
One of those friends was Mihailovic, his old Lazio colleague and a man in a good position to talk about the whimsical owners of Catania, where Mihailovic was coach for six months last season. Simeone's short notice gave the pair little chance for more serious reflections, but when Fiorentina meet Catania in early March they can do so. They might ponder how the graduates of their expensively assembled Lazio of a decade ago have turned out as leaders.
Besides Mihailovic, now in his third Serie A management post, and Simeone, one Roberto Mancini, of Manchester City, was in that squad. As Simeone remembers: "It was Mancini, Mihailovic, me and Alessandro Nesta who motivated the team on the pitch."
Simeone's task in Sicily is to galvanise a team three points above the relegation zone who face league leaders AC Milan next. Mihailovic can advise him. Thirteen months ago, the Serbian was asked to lift Catania off the bottom of Serie A. He had led them clear of the drop by May, and then left for Tuscany.